Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pumping Breastmilk

 Well, it's been over a year now, of exclusively pumping breastmilk for my baby!
Thanks to people like Beth, I made it! 
When I first started, in the first couple days home with him,
I called Beth, crying, it was so hard.
It was exhausting, it was overwhelming to say the very least.
She told me if you make it the first month, you'll make it!
I agree, by that time, you have a system down of what works and what doesn't
I look back over the year and all I can think of is how hard of a year it was.
 fussy baby, 5 months gluten free,surgeries, hospital stays,
 pumping, pumping, pumping
Filled with blessings?
But very hard.
The above picture is what my counter looks like always
(this from a person who likes empty counters)
It's only a year
I've said that a thousand times this past year.
Well, that year is up
I'm excited for 2013
The year I stopped pumping
 Here's Simeon at my feet while I pump...
 This past couple weeks, my breasts have gone through something
I've made it a year with a few glitches,
like right before I get my period, I have about 4 days
of about 4-5 ounces of less milk per pumping
but these past couple weeks, though, 
have been weird, 
like my body knows it's been a year and it's done
I've gotten clogged milk ducts,
and very very sore nipples...bloody bottles
(had to throw those out)
and sometimes have to sit here for 2 hours
(when I finally give up)
to get the 2 1/2 bottles I need for him.
I ordered the above supplements to help with my milk
they are huge horse pills--hard to swallow for me
I'm not sure if they work or not
Maybe a little, but then today,
and last night's 1am feeding took forever, 2 full hours to get 2 bottles
(I have a pink one like this, hands free)
Because it's hands free
 (thank you nurse at hospital for telling me about this)
I've watched movies, 
Done lots of computer time,
joined Facebook, 
gotten addicted to Pinterest
Corrected papers
taught school
played games
read books
written out my Christmas cards
Made Jesse Tree ornaments
read (some)
I even pumped while making my Christmas Eve dinner
I've also driven kids to Piano several times while pumping

 I catch myself thinking of all the things I'll get done when I quit
We're talking major hours I pump here, like at least 5 per day sitting here.
But, as my sister in law told me yesterday 
(and she's right)
There won't be that much time 
It will be replaced by laundry getting done quicker,
or supper on time
or whatever fills it automatically.
I'll take it
I want to replace my morning pumping with exercise
After a week of sleeping in!
I can't wait for my life to not revolve around pumping

 Everyone in the family has sacrificed and suffered (in my mind)
because of pumping
They have helped a ton, by watching Simeon while I'm sitting here
They've lost my time with them
They have also gained a lot of virtues
like charity, patience, sacrifice, love 
and empathy 
for others going through similar things
 My relationship has suffered with my husband
He's had to do a lot more--have meals later quite often
had to do bedtime with the kiddos 
and most of all, 
we've missed just having the time to do things together
At night time, I'm too tired, I feed Simeon, and try to sleep 
til my 1am pumping (sometimes that is 11 or 12)
I'm always tired
 Don't get me wrong here
It is totally worth it!
Look at my healthy baby, 
I think he heals quickly because of the breastmilk
That keeps me going, his surgeries
knowing he's getting the best I can give him
It's a sacrifice we feel was worth it.
 I learned very quickly I had to be very organized with my times and dates
and always tried to give him the freshest milk
 He's come so far, and gone through so much
It's the very least I can do for my baby
 It's a sacrifice I do because I love him,
but there's no love of pumping
unlike nursing, I loved nursing my other babies
Don't hug me too close,
 because I think my nipples are permanently sensitive now
(tmi? sorry)
 My goal is to make it to the end of January
pumping fresh milk, which brings him to 13 months
(since he was born a month early)
and then somehow taper off
not sure how to do that without getting clogged milk ducts
maybe spread more hours between pumpings?
 Then, switching to my frozen milk, 
I'm hoping I have a couple months worth here
My sister in law suggested mixing half and half,
half whole milk/half breast milk to start weaning him
I've never done this, I've always breastfed til a year and a half
(except my 2nd, she weaned right at 12 mos and went to milk in a cup)
 (me--always tired)
 Totally worth it
 Happy happy baby, totally worth it
 Still not going to miss this! 

I'm thinking I'll need to take a break from the computer, 
when I quit pumping, 
because now I do it while pumping, 
Not sure how to fit any of it back in to my day
 Trying hard to make it to the end of January


  1. You're amazing and I would have quit as soon as I heard I had to pump right from the beginning. When I went back to work ahile breastfeeding, I had to pump at work and it only lasted 3 months tops because it was just too hard. Seriously, I'd rather run ten miles than pump at 1 am. I just can't fathom how you did it. Maybe your body is telling you it's time to wean NOW and not the end of January? You have so much in your freezer, he'll still be on breastmilk for a long time and he's old enough to have milk, so why kill yourself any longer? I don't want to discourage you, but you need a break momma!!!

    1. I know, I know!! But but but butt, I have it in my head to keep it up til the end of January...It will be such a let down if I don't make it to my goal, I'm such a perfectionist that way....That freezer stuff, when he starts it, it will go fast, I added it up once and it was only a little over a month worth, I've added since then, so I'm thinking maybe 2 months worth...we'll see, I guess if I mix it with whole milk, it will last longer.

  2. Look at his big blue eyes. Just so sweet. I also applaud you and you stuck with it. I enjoyed having you blog along with us...we will miss you if you quit!

    I hope the tide turns and you do get more time with hubby. Kids seem to bounce through life pretty good. It was hard adding on to our home and Brian was busy and gone...A LOT. Kids seem to not remember any of it.

    not to be one to decide..but I am with Colleen. You did it and with all that extra milk I think you should stop now and start that hubby loving.

    but...I know you. When you make up your mind to do something you succeed. You are amazing...tired...but amazing.

    1. I know kids are resiliant that way, but I feel I've missed so much and can't wait to be the mom I used to be.

      I'm not quitting blogging, just taking a break til I figure out a schedule without pumping and to enjoy my kiddos, now being on the computer is easy, I'm pumping.

  3. What a true labor of love, and all the sacrifice you and the rest of your family have sown into Sims will pay off in wonderful dividends in his life and in theirs.

    Bless your heart- pumping is not easy- I did that when I went back to work with my last one. And I also say to listen to your body. It might be saying that it needs a break. You are awesome, my friend!!!

    1. I did ask myself, is this a sign? Am I supposed to quit now? It's funny, as hard as it is, it's hard to give up--it's become so automatic and such a part of my day. I can't imagine going to be without setting my alarm for 6 hours from the last pumping....

      You sacrificed too--it's not easy to work, pump and take care of a baby.

  4. What a great job you've done-he looks so healthy!

    1. Thanks Jan!! It has to be the milk right? haha!

  5. ps...
    I KNOW what you can do with your extra 'time'.

    picture books...hee hee

    ya know I am giving you grief.

  6. My daughter nursed and pumped until my granddaughter was almost 3, then she had another baby and started all over. She was working full-time while doing it, too. I absolutely don't know how she did it! Now she is pregnant again - don't know if she will do it again. It is a very big commitment, but I salute you for putting the health of your baby first! Happy New year to your lovely family!

    1. Debbie--I did nurse my last one (who is 3 now) til she was 21 months, she was the longest, but by that time, it was only at nap time and bed time.

      I think in the last 13 years, I've been pregnant, nursing or both for about 11 1/2 of those years...

      Happy new year to you too!

      PS I bet your daughter does it again.

      It is so much easier breastfeeding than pumping and it is also so much easier than making bottles!! (can you tell I miss breastfeeding?)

  7. I am amazed how you were able to stick it out. I tried breast feeding with my first, but because I have flat nipples, I kept getting mastitis and was hospitalized once with it. My second baby, I went through my midwives to rent a professional pump. I lasted about 3 months with that. It was just too painful and my nipples kept getting infections. (Had to use that purple stuff that stains EVERYTHING including your baby's mouth.) I never tried again after that. With 7 kids, home schooling and cleaning the entire house daily, I just didn't have the time or energy. Maybe with the next one😁

    You are amazing! I really hope you find time to keep blogging. I love hearing about the kids and your home schooling! God Bless and Happy New Year!

    1. OH, Arley, I'm cringing just reading that!! I think I've damaged my nipples that's for sure, it's just not natural to have them sucked and pulled by a machine several times a day!!

      I'm not quitting blogging--just might need to take a break when I am done pumping, because that is my computer time....

  8. Absolutely amazing! Hats off to you and your entire family.

    I totally understand the break from blogging and getting back into a routine. Just like starting the routine of pumping you'll have to adjust back to full time. Don't you think you'll get wonders done? That's what I think when I have two feet to walk on. :)

    I admire your discipline!

    1. I do think of all I'll get done--things I can start and not worry about pumping. I think mostly it's laundry and little projects with the kids that I'll be able to do again the way I want to. But I also know I'll still be behind in laundry, that's why I hate laundry, I'm never caught up.

  9. Congratulations! I think that breastfeeding and pumping are truly mortifications - you have to put yourself last and think of the needs of your baby first and that is exactly what you've done. I also like that you've mentioned it is a family affair. The hubby and older kids really need to pitch in to make it work. I think that NFP prepares husbands to be ready to contribute...don't you? Little Simeon may never appreciate what you've done, but you've got the respect and admiration of every momma who reads your blog. Well done! :-)

    1. Happy mama--How do you think NFP prepares husbands to be ready? Because they need to be patient and are used to waiting? If that's it,then yes! :)

    2. exactly! That they are used to "being part of the team" and waiting...putting their needs and wants on the back burner for a season.

  10. Wow...I pumped 6 1/2 months with Benjamin, and I felt like that was an achievement (I was mostly dried up and had to go back to work - I don't think my body was ready for nursing 15 weeks early)'s a sacrifice, that's for sure. I extremely disliked pumping, especially around the clock. I always figured nursing wouldn't be that bad because you would get to interact with your precious child, but staring at a cold pump when my baby is 30 miles away was really tough, especially when I usually only got 2 oz per session. Pumping mom confessions...I kicked my pump across the room once. The day I gave it up was a day of celebration! And yes, those babies are worth it. I loved the picture of Simeon sitting at your feet.

    1. Jamie--I think my milk would probably let down at the start of any machine in's not the same as breastfeeding, that's for sure. No sleeping on this job. I do need to look at my pictures of Simeon to sometimes get also helps to hold my 3 year old for some reason, like if she brings books in here and we read, my milk comes better.

      Can't kick my pump--too expensive--I have to say though, my biggest fear of having another baby would be that possibility of having to pump again and go through this again. (not that it would happen, most likely I'd be able to breastfeed) My life revolves around pumping though, that's for sure.

  11. I nursed Ava till nearly a year and had a few issues righht at the end (only the end) and had to start "pumping" for the last month or so, but I found it was SOoooo much harder for me and I got way less milk than when I actually nursed her. You're right, breastfeeding is much easier! (But either way there is sacrifice involved).

    I just think... you are my stinking HERO! Honestly, every time you've talked about pumping I've been like, "Sheesh, that woman is my hero". Great job momma in carrying your cross and being such a good example to your children and showing them the self sacrificial heart of a mother.

    1. Marijanna--it's hard to pump and feed the baby--time---the pump is a time sucker.

      Oh, gosh, I'm not a hero. Just a mama, like all you mamas!

  12. What a beautiful sacrifice you have made for him! I've never been able to get more than 1 to 2 ounces pumping, and I can only get that much in the first month. I nursed my first for 10 months, until the taste of the milk changed and she wouldn't drink anymore and her brother was born the next month. I only got to nurse my second for 5 months because my milk production got so low he wasn't gaining weight and starting to lose weight. I've been able to nurse my current baby well so far. She'll be 10 months tomorrow. Please pray that I can nurse her at least to a year, our fourth will be born when our current baby is 14 months. God is so awesome and has blessed us, as mothers so much. Love reading your blog posts. You are such an amazing mother.

    1. kari--so glad you've been able to nurse this baby--I wonder why it was like that for the others. I'll pray you can continue. It's such a blessing to be able to feed our babies, isn't it?

      We are all amazing mamas, arent' we?

  13. I can't vouch for how the products work, but my husband does the Quality Assurance for them, so I know that what they say they have in them, they have in them. Plus, I asked him about the horse pills size - and he said that in order to get what they say they are putting in there, in there, they can't make some of these any smaller. So no fluff, just stuff. I hope they work for you.

    Kudos to you to sticking it out. I hated pumping and never had enough time at work.

    As for slowing down. Start skipping those horrible 1 am pumpings and get yourself some sleep. If you start skipping the pumpings, for a couple of days you will be uncomfortable, but then it will gradually trigger the "hey, things are slowing down" reaction, so you won't be miserable horrible like going cold turkey.

    1. Traci--Nice to know my "vitamins" have what they say they have in them!

      I'd like to quit a daytime one first, like the afternoon one, it's the hardest one by far, can't start anything, and it's always hard to fit it in between piano, gymnastics and Tae Kwon Do...and my 6 year old always wants to bake cookies and I always say..."I can't I have to pump"

      I have to admit, that 1 am one is his morning bottle, so it will probably be the last one to give much as I want to sleep! He always gets up either right before or during or right after to eat--so I'm up anyway.

      couldn't imagine going cold turkey....hurts just thinking about that.

  14. Bravo to you, Jamie Jo! It is such hard work, but self-donation is total sacrifice! Just think what Christ did for us!!!

    I understand, though, wanting to make it until the end of January when you've got a goal in your head. It's only hard now (psychologically...not talking about the physical b/c that probably really is a challenge1) b/c you know the end is near. It was like when I was teaching full-time...and knew that I only had 3 weeks left until I got to quit and be a full-time SAHM...I swear every school day lasted for HOURS! LOL And here I had made it 9 months with a nursing baby and a 2-year old toddler including pumping!

    Gosh I hate pumping...but knowing myself, I would be like you and do it too! Pumping truly was my "hill to die on" when I was working outside of the home b/c of all the guilt I was experiencing. It was the one thing I could do for Mary Catherine that "Miss Erin" couldn't!

    Hang in there, girl, and take care of yourself. If you want to!


    1. Awwww...what you said about Miss Erin--my heart went out for you, that must have been a very hard time for you. So happy you were able to give her your milk.

      You are an amazing mama too!

      And you are right Valerie--I'm feeling anxious and can't wait to stop and be done...I told my 6 year old I was going to be quitting pumping soon, and her eyes lit up and she said "When?" very excitedly!!

  15. Jamie Jo, I have only been a reader for a couple of months, so you don't know me, but as a former La Leche League leader, I applaud your persistance! Congratulations on pumping around the clock for a year---that is pretty amazing. I'm *sure* that Simeon is healthier and heals more quickly from his surgeries because of it.

    I can't imagine why you'd suddenly start having problems, but maybe it is like overtraining for a marathon. Sometimes you have to slow down to go faster! Since most children are sleeping through the night by age 1, it makes sense for you to drop that pumping so you can sleep more. That might help. OTOH, if you drop a pumping, maybe you could drop a daytime one instead to allow you more freedom and time with the rest of the family. Either way, you'd get a bit of a break.

    I would encourage you to keep up with it, tapering off slowly over the next year, because I think the breastmilk is so much more important to a "sick" baby. And by sick, I mean that he still has at least one more surgery, right? I found breastfeeding to be immeasurably helpful to toddlers because of illnesses they pick up---I think it's just as important in the 2nd year, maybe more since they're out picking up more germs!

    Whatever you choose, you've done an amazing job, and he will benefit from it all his life. But every mom has to decide when and how to wean, even if it is from a pump. No one else can judge that decision because we don't walk in your shoes! God bless you and your precious boy!

    1. Sara--I just put you on my Google Reader--I have seen you around over the years--thanks for reading and nice to officially "meet" you!!

      I think I had problems a couple weeks back because when I went to the hospital with Simeon, I was with him 24/7 literally, only leaving his side to go to the bathroom, and boy did my milk flow!! I'd only pump for 1/2 hour and the bottles were full! I also was able to stick to my every 6 hours so much easier, because time crept there. Then, I got home and my pumpings were spaced (not on purpose) a little more and the kids held him, I was not with him as much as in the pumping, I'd be in a different room. That's the only think I can think of, as to why my breast got clogged. It's the breast that produces less milk anyway and is the most sensitive.

      The less milk right before my period started about 4 months ago.

      My plan was to drop a daytime one, most likely the afternoon one, so I can do more with the kiddos. It's by far my hardest one, it takes away time from the others....morning is next makes getting ready for anything very challenging.

      My life revolves around the pump.

      The last time the kiddos were sick, I gave chocolate breastmilk (ovaltine in it) to my 3 year old and she loved it, she was only sick for a day and a half...the others were sick for a couple weeks (of course they wouldn't touch the stuff)! I know it's good for them!

      I'd love to wait til his next surgery, but we don't know when that will be, maybe if I can get enough milk with one pumping, I'll keep the 1 am one and have milk for when he goes in for the next surgery....That would be ideal, that's for sure!!

      Thank you so much Sara--your advice is very helpful!

  16. Jaime Jo, for one tired mama, you look good!

    And I agree with everyone when they say you have done an amazing job continuing to pump! I had to pump for the first time ever for the first month of Zoe's life and it was incredibly exhausting. Of course, at a year she still nurses a ton, but at least I can doze - unlike with pumping. So kudos to you and I hope "weaning" goes smoothly. I suppose one benefit is not fighting a weaning toddler. I always wonder about that but then I find myself pregnant which causes the final break to occur.

    Good luck and try to enjoy finding a new normal.

    1. This tired ol' mama has big brown bags under her eyes!!

      yeah, there's no sleeping on the job of pumping, that's for sure!!

      I guess I'm weaning my boobs and not the baby--much easier, right?

  17. Jamie, Sweetie, you have a heart of gold. I do have one question, and I apologize for being so "dense." WHY have you had to pump so much? I must have missed that post. Is it because Simeon wasn't able to nurse with his clef palate? In any case, your dedication & love is inspiring. You have suffered much and yet, it's been a source of grace for you *and* for us. Love you, hon. Happy New Year.♥

    1. OK, you dense woman--yes, or, uh, no, Simeon can't form a suction to nurse, with no palate. I mourned the loss of pumping way back at 20 weeks in utero...That was probably the hardest thing---I love nursing. He has a special bottle, that is squeezed and he sucks the drips....

      I still secretly wish/hope for another baby to be able to nurse....but can't imagine being pregnant or all that entails the millions of doctor appts per week....need to be done pumping and get through these surgeries and have a little of a life with my 6 kiddos before that happens again (hopefully)

      Being open....things happen....but I'm old...

  18. You've done well, mama. I am in awe of your commitment and dedication. As someone who has struggled to nurse and so many other issues, I've been a pumper with most of my children. I last 6-8 weeks and it's too much dedication. I'm wimpy like that ;) I have good supply so that I am able to store and freeze a bunch in that time. In the end, I quit because I stress about the logistics, suffer physiclaly/emotionally/mentally and I am just plain not happy. Each time it comes down to me feeling more ME and that I am so unhappy.
    You are a graceful woman and never cease to inspire me!! You did do a lot in 2012. You sacrificed a lot and you blessed you family with faith and love in the midst of surgeries and pumping :)

    1. So Sarah--are you using formula? I get that whole physically/emotional thing, believe me, I get it. I just have somehow blocked it out and kept telling myself "it's only a year" but now that a year is here....this months I think is going to go really sloooooowwwwwly.

      I'm still adding formula to his breastmilk, since August when he was only 10 lbs--keeps him chunky--have to start easing him off I guess now that these past 2 surgeries are done....

      Gosh, I feel as though, I did NOTHING in 2012, except pump pump pump....and go through surgeries....I am happy 2012 is done...I wished away a year....and am glad it's done!

      I actually admire you for quitting. Wish I werent' me sometimes and could let go of's that type A feeling like I HAVE to go to the end of January....

  19. You are such a good mom....God bless you :)

  20. I just love your honesty, Jamie. It's so refreshing. All of us can relate to some parts of this story... Oh how I remember the bloody bottles as 2 of my kids stopped wanting to nurse and I was "determined" to provide breast milk for that year. Funny, I've PWD too!!! (Pumped While Driving) It sounds to me that you've actually gotten a lot done while pumping! *wink* Maybe it will be more of a challenge to get so much more done without it! LOL Great job being such a wonderful Mama and example to us all:)

    1. Oh, gosh, so true--funny too! I've thought of that...I look up all my craft ideas and recipes, I sometimes fold laundry here...I get all my shows watched :) When will I find the time to do all that when I stop pumping?

      Balance...I'll need to re-balance again.

  21. Okay this post had me in tears. Job well done Jamie Jo. Your love for your son is so evident in the sacrifices you've made in this past year. I'm in awe of your example of selfless many others would've given up. Simeon looks beautiful.

    And that tired picture of you...I only wish I looked that lovely when I'm tired. Your eyes are amazing!

    God Bless You Jamie Jo. I will continue to add Simeon and you to my daily Divine Mercy chaplet.

  22. Dear Jamie- you have sacrificed quite a lot this past year. It's all worth it, as you say, but that doesn't make it easier. Hope you had a MERRY Christmas and that 2013 is a wonderful year for your family.

    BTW, take that blog break if you need it. I'm having an extremely hard time finding time to record events/days on my blog...but I just cannot allow it to bother me. Living this life is calling me more than the recording of our life, I guess. Prayers to you and yours, dear friend. Hope to see you this year at some point!

  23. Dear Jamie- you have sacrificed quite a lot this past year. It's all worth it, as you say, but that doesn't make it easier. Hope you had a MERRY Christmas and that 2013 is a wonderful year for your family.

    BTW, take that blog break if you need it. I'm having an extremely hard time finding time to record events/days on my blog...but I just cannot allow it to bother me. Living this life is calling me more than the recording of our life, I guess. Prayers to you and yours, dear friend. Hope to see you this year at some point!

  24. Oh Jamie! I don't know how else to say it other than... well... I am proud of you!!! I can only imagine how hard it has been and what love and devotion you have to see it through this whole year. Your kids have a true example of what love it in all the hard work you put into pumping milk for your baby. Your perseverance is inspiring to me and they get to see it up close.

    They will now know when they get to be a parent that it takes hard work and a lot of love. They will be willing to make sacrifices because they saw you do it.

    Seeing how you have worked this last year and how you have done it with a gracious heart and all full of love has been so beautiful. Your gratitude and devotion... of I am just gushing, but there are not enough words to say how truly amazing I think you are.

    God bless you Jamie! And I don't think you look tired, I think you look beautiful!

    1. Oh, gosh, Amy-I'm not all that!

      I hope God brings good things out of this past year...I already know He has, with as fast as Simeon has healed and he's such a happy baby (as long as mama is near)!!

      I think the blessing will also be when I quit, the kids will hopefully appreciate all we'll be able to do again!!

  25. Sorry I missed this post! By a year I was pumping 5x a day for about 15 min each. I just weaned off slowly... Go to 10 min for a few days, then drop down to 4, then 5 min per session, dropped to 3 etc. Leo started having some whole milk at a year. I didn't mix it I don't think, just gave it to him in a cup with the valve taken out. He was having feeding therapy starting at 9 months. Sometimes I'd blend a quarter of a banana in a cup of milk so it wouldn't come out of the sippy cup so fast.

    Now, I should tell you I was pregnant when I weaned off pumping so that prob helped! There's an idea for you! ;)

    And yes I was sooooo happy to put the pump away and get my counter space back. But also a little sad. I totally understand! Plus I had almost nothing in the freezer so he was done when I quit at 16 months!

    1. I'm pumping 3x day, 1 1/2 -2 hours each to go to 10 minutes...just wouldn't even let down by that time!! the milk, interesting...have to try that.

    2. Oh my gosh!!! There's gotta be another way.
      Banana is still his fave food!

  26. By the way.... I'm soooooooo proud of you!!! Do you feel like you could do anything?? You are supermom!!!

  27. You can do anything!!! I figure... I pumped for 16 months, I gave birth without drugs... SURELY I can lose 20 lbs now! Haha


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